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Public to have their say on Flintshire school shake-up plans

PUPILS and parents are being asked for their views on controversial plans for a massive shake-up of secondary education across Flintshire.

A series of public consultation events got under way this week after the council unveiled wide-ranging proposals to close and merge high schools to deal with the county’s increasing number of surplus places, which currently stands at nearly 1,400.

Holywell High School, Elfed High School in Buckley and John Summers High School in Queensferry are the schools most under-capacity – accounting for about 64% of the surplus places in Flintshire’s 12 secondary schools.

The proposals could see John Summers close and its students transferred to Connah’s Quay High School, and an amalgamation of the Elfed and Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa.

Holywell High School – the only secondary education facility in the north of the county – could also become part of an education super-site, housing a library and community facilities as well as primary and secondary learning.

Drop-in consultation sessions to make sure the views of parents, students, governors, staff, unions and the wider community are heard began in the same week more detailed plans about the revolutionary blueprint were unveiled.

Proposals for Buckley, Mynydd Isa and Mold include retaining the existing separate sites at Elfed and Argoed but amalgamating them to create one school under the leadership of one headteacher and one governing body.

Other options include expanding the sixth form at Alun School, Mold, by about 100 places and increasing the number of places at Elfed to about 1,200, closing the Argoed and replacing it with a primary school.

As well as closing John Summers and moving students to an expanded Connah’s Quay High School campus, the consultation documents suggests the possibility of replacing keeping the Queensferry school open in a new building.

A spokesman for the council said: “Flintshire County Council is committed to securing high quality learning opportunities for all.

“We face a challenge. The challenge is to ensure our schools continue to provide an appropriate, fit-for-purpose environment at a time when there is limited money to deliver increasing expectations.

“Too many of our schools are also in inappropriate buildings that cannot meet the needs of current or future pupils and staff.

“The recent area inspection recognised all Flintshire schools are improving. We want to build on that success by securing even better educational opportunities and outcomes in improved learning environments for this generation and the next.”

After the consultation period ends in September a report will be compiled for the county council’s executive committee to consider in October. If plans are agreed formal proposals will be put forward in November.

Any changes are expected to be implemented from September 2012.